Archives for November 2014

EdTech and CERTI present a Freshman Faculty Forum Event, “Course Design to Optimize Student Learning”, in Curtis Laws Wilson Library room 204, from 4:00PM to 5:00PM on Nov. 19th

EdTech and CERTI present a Freshman Faculty Forum Event, “Course Design to Optimize Student Learning”, to be held in Curtis Laws Wilson Library room 204, from 4:00PM to 5:00PM on Nov 19th. This event will be focused on several topics related to course design such as student learning goals, backwards design, and developing a scaffold for using Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning in the classroom. All freshman faculty are invited to attend!

Please direct any questions to Diane Hagni, CERTI coordinator, at hagnid@mst.edu or 573-341-7648.

Our Tools Shape Us

The educational tools that we choose often shape how we educate our students, so let’s choose them wisely with one eye on the future.

Source: www.edutopia.org

This same concept applies to a lot of lab courses. There’s some big machine which drives the lab activity because it’s there, we’ve paid for it, and it’s all we know. Don’t let the tools that we have limit the way we think about teaching.

CERTI and EdTech present a Curators’ Teaching Summit event, “Great Expectations: Bridging the Gap Between Instructor and Student Expectations”, on Wednesday Nov 12 from Noon til 1:30PM

Update: The resources (videos and web article) presented at the Curators’ Teaching Summit are now available at: edtech.mst.edu/teach/services/workshops (click the November tab).

Update: The final Curators’ Teaching Summit of 2014 was a great event! More than 40 S&T professors from all over campus got together over lunch for a series of small-table guided discussions. This session was led by a panel of Curators’ Teaching Professors, including Dr. Larry Gragg, Dr. Roger LaBoube, Dr. Venkat Samaranayake, and Dr. David Riggins. The Session was moderated by Dr. Jeff Cawlfied.

Student expectations were a primary topic; a series of short video interviews with random S&T students filmed around campus provided some insightful student perspective. As one might expect, student attitudes toward academic honesty vary widely. Some students struggle to conform to what they view as a treacherous and unfamiliar set of rules, while other students do not seem aware that academic honesty is a problem area for many of their peers.

Many instructors shared their strategies for reducing or minimizing the effects of student academic dishonesty. Frankly discussing the topic at the beginning of each new semester, clearly outlining policies and expectations, and identifying repercussions for violations is a popular strategy to address the subject head-on. Some instructors have developed grading practices to minimize the value of cheating to students, for example reducing the gradebook value of easy-to-cheat-on assignments such as take-home work.

Several instructors noted that being aware of different cultural expectations regarding the tradition of academic scholarship practices is another useful mental tool for the classroom. In the Western tradition of scholarship (Academe), there exists a codified set of cultural expectations regarding practices of citation, originality, and independent work. These expectations are not common to all cultures, and are a set of learned practices. An instructor’s ability to identify mismatched student cultural expectations on, for example, group work, is often the first step towards correcting and normalizing student efforts to be in line with the accepted practices of scholarship inside academic culture.

Finally, the subject of classroom technology was broached; while instructors interact with students on a constant basis, it can be unusual for students to be open and candid with instructors about their expectations and opinions. The short video interviews with S&T students were a breath of fresh air in that regard. So what do students have to say about classroom technology? Basically, they want their instructors to use the Learning Management System (Blackboard, in our case) to host course content. Many instructors completely ignore this resource. This is unfortunate, because students seem to crave electronic access to their grades and course materials, and they express a strong preference for more recordings of lessons, worked problems, and classroom sessions.

CERTI and EdTech will be presenting a Curators’ Teaching Summit event, “Great Expectations: Bridging the Gap Between Instructor and Student Expectations”, on Wednesday, Nov 12 in the Missouri/Ozark Room of the Havener Center. This event will be held from Noon until 1:30PM. Lunch is provided

This event will be the third and final session of the fall series. We’ll be discussing two topics brought up by faculty in earlier sessions – student/instructor expectations regarding academic integrity, and use of technology in the classroom to enhance learning.

Learning Objectives – Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation – Carnegie Mellon University

Source: www.cmu.edu

What is the most important thing in your course for students to know or do in five years? That’s the question that we use to start the first consultation we have with instructors.  It is important to understand what you expect of students. This becomes the foundation that instructors build their course.  Once they know what the consider to be the most important part of their course, they can begin to build the learning objectives that will guide students in their learning. 

This website has great resources on building good learning objectives that are student centered and help to guide students.  This website also shows the importance of alignment.  This is where you align your assessments and learning activities with specific learning objectives.  This helps to eliminate confusion and keep students on track with what the instructor finds to be the most important parts of the course.

What is STEM Transformation?

TransformingInstitutionsLogo

I had the opportunity to attend a conference in October called Transforming Institutions: 21st Century STEM Education.  There were many good ideas that I took away from this conference but the question that I started the conference with is, what is Transforming Institutions, STEM Education really all about. I know what STEM is.  It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  But what does transformation mean? The easy definition that I found was “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”. (Thanks Google!) So the question really is, what needs to change (or be transformed) about the way that we teach STEM disciplines?

That question is a little harder to answer. If we say that we need to transform the way we teach, that first assumes that we admit there is an issue with how we are teaching now.  Is that true?  The opening keynote gave a couple of statistics that are quite startling.  Two-thirds of Americans over the age of 25 don’t have a college degree. Around 50% of students who start college never complete.  Is this true?

In the past few years we have seen an increase in the scholarship of teaching that has been focused on actively engaging students in courses and the positive outcomes that come from that.  Unfortunately, these activities are a minority on most campuses.  The culture of most campuses was fashioned many years ago and success for all students wasn’t part of that culture.  What was re-iterated over and over at the conference was that to make true change we must make student success the focus for the campus and make it the mission of everyone.

What does student success mean to you?

Faculty Success = Student Success & Student Success = Faculty Success

TransformingInstitutionsLogo

I had the opportunity to attend a conference in October called Transforming Institutions: 21st Century STEM Education. There were many good ideas that I took away from this conference but one that continues to resonate with me is that for many of us in higher education, we influence student success by helping to make faculty successful. When faculty succeed in the teaching and learning mission we can help students succeed as well.

In order to establish this culture of success, we need to first understand who we are as a university. Many of our institutions have a culture that was formed many years ago and hasn’t changed even though our students have changed. We base are strategic plans, activities and events around assumptions. As those who want to change this culture we need to be deliberate and systematic about analytics. Spending time studying our data will help us understand who we are and where we are. We must never stop taking risks as it is through these risks, and sometimes failures, that we can learn the most.

We can make a difference and the way that our universities were in the past doesn’t mean they must be that way in the future. We can be agents for change. We must always strive for success and realize that when we have success in one area we should not consider it final. We should push for a culture that accepts nothing less than continued success.